Double Feature: Death Parade 10+11

Oh god it’s winking at me!

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Time for conflicts to come to a head. Time for the veil surrounding Kurokami to come undone. Will you care about her plight, or will this peter out and waste your time? Let’s find out!

I made no secret last time that Death Parade has been trying my patience. Not to the point of where the series is broken, but just a series of questionable choices from the story side of things. Production remains quite strong, and while the acting leans to the hammy, it isn’t really to the detriment of a work where mood is so important to the presentation.

We open with Decim asking to be suspended from judgments, parroting Kurokami’s words from last time. There needs to be more purpose behind them. But Nona quickly sniffs out it’s Kurokami’s influence saying these things, not really Decim himself coming to the conclusion.

Kurokami’s body is breaking down. It seems Human recreations have a finite existence in this afterlife place.  Nona orders Decim to judge her finally, and adds in she will send a special guest.

But Decim is aghast. He doesn’t think that darkness is Kurokami’s true nature.

Again, back to this utterly confusing thing about darkness being their metric.  That is not what we’ve seen, and why is it the goal?

This is the problem with the dilemma.  Arbiters have this dogmatic way they judge, perhaps it is so old a metric that no one lives who was around when it was conceived, as we are led to believe all the arbiters were born at some point. Centuries past, perhaps, but still born. Even creepy grandpa god isn’t REALLY a deity, just a powerful Arbiter type.

“Why do we judge Humans on the lurking darkness within?”  “Because.”  “But shouldn’t we have a goal?”  “Nope, it’s jsut the way it is.”   “Okay, so, how about I judge people based on something else, if the reasons behind it don’t matter?”  “WHAT? YOU FUCKING HERETIC! DO IT THE RIGHT WAY!”

There needs to be SOMETHING behind this. The argument of tradition is very powerful in Human minds (very much so in Japan), but often those supplement the basic idea of tradition with something.  Gay marriage isn’t tradition, therefore it’s wrong.  But the argument is also clothed in the idea that it is “immoral”, that there are no children to be conceived therefore the state should not have an interest.  Now I’m not trying to debate the merits of those arguments, but merely illustrating that there ARE rationalizations, no matter how flimsy, behind the fact that it is tradition.

If you put “It is tradition” in a vacuum, it ceases to be a moral dilemma, and becomes a black and white argument with only one clear answer for us to conclude. Having a bad guy whose motivation is clear is important, and we lack that here. It’s doubly confusing because they are so dogmatic, while simultaneously saying they couldn’t care less. Continue reading

Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Act 4

Fumble, foul, or failure?

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So, we open on an impressive ambush tactic.  Tigre castles his refugees and soldiers, so when the Muslin forces attack, they are met with swords instead of helpless villagers. Nice move.

Unfortunately, it only wins them the spearhead. Two thousand guys isn’t going to outfight 40,000, there’s just no way on an open field.

And…and…okay, this fight is just goofy. Tigre and Ludmila are having their mid-combat heart to heart, which is made all the sillier by the fact the Muslin soldiers are encircling them in some form of interpretative dance until it’s time for one to enter the foreground and get killed.

Well, wouldn’t you know, when you kill the most respected knight in the entire kingdom for backing Tigre, turns out the other knightly orders don’t respect you enough to remain in your control.  Three of Brune’s knightly orders arrive just in time to bail Tigre out of this jam.

This is where my historical perspective kind of kills the mood for me.  Barbarossa is just laughing off the fact 5,000 knights have arrived to kick his ass.

To put this in perspective, when the Roman Emperor sent for reinforcements to the Pope (the event that launched the Crusades) he was expecting about 300 knights.  That is to say, he thought he could beat the entire Seljuk Empire with just 300 of the mounted destroyers, even though his army had suffered it most horrific defeat a matter of years earlier. That’s how badass these guys were.

Barbarossa laughing off “Well what’s 5,000 against my 40,000 men?” is…ugh…it’s so unlikely I can’t form a proper simile to express it.

And we now understand why he’s losing.  Barbarossa thinks the mastermind is the Battle Maiden.  Oh, you poor, horribly un-genre-savvy fool. You have no idea what show you’re in, do you? Any normal universe, sure, she’d be the hero. But not here. Continue reading

Inou-Battle: Act 4

No, Trigger, not like this!

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Final leg of this series. How does it stack up against our horrifically low expectations? Do you even need to ask?

So we open that Tomoyo has failed in her publishing attempt. I’m…I’m not sure if I’m upset this isn’t given more emotional weight, it’s almost played for laughs with how she beats up her body pillow. But on the other hand, it is nice to admit it isn’t the end of the world, after all, she’s a kid. She has her life ahead of her. So not dwelling on this is a good message, all told.

You know, maybe I’ve been overly hard on you, show. Maybe…

Oh, she IS despondent that Hatoko loves Andou.

…Fuck me for giving you the benefit of the doubt, Inou-Battle. I really should have known better.

So Kuki is spending summer vacation trying to get between Andou and Chifuyu, who is still this world’s most adorable lolita dominatrix.  None of this is particularly amusing. Though I did like that the kids ignored the car and were after the stuffed whale consolation prize.

Aaaaaand we get to endure Kuki falling in love with the world’s biggest dick. What will save us from this?

Water park shenanigans with Sayumi…damnit. Just your average harem date, without a lot to elevate it. Save for the very end when Mephistopholes pulls out the F card. Oo, something that’s almost kind of interesting! Continue reading

Akuma no Riddle: Episode 11

Nio ED is best ED.

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Well after ten episodes of, frankly, aimless wandering, we’re down to the wire. Plot! And there’s no excuse anymore, Akuma no Riddle, you’ve run out of monkeys. You have one card left in that barrel, so you’d better make it a straight shot.

…If metaphors ever achieve sapience I will likely be classified as a war criminal.

We’re starting out with a lecture by Sensei, about bees! Convenient as last time Hanabusa used the term “queen bee” to refer to herself and Haru. It’s some drab stuff about how their pheromones work, but for the non-amateur zoologist, it’s kind dry.  The girls aren’t even hiding their impatience with class anymore.

But the big moment…Nio reveals that all will be revealed. It is time!

Finally, some real answers.  Credit, too, to the soundtrack here.  It’s this grungy, dark build up as Nio alerts them of the chairperson’s plans, all while she’s doing her cute little “Nio signing off!” thing.  I don’t know if we’ve handled it this way, but it sticks out to me, and is quite effective.

Nio assures the pair though, no tricks, they’ve won. Tokaku seems to be distancing herself from Haru now, saying she doesn’t need constant protection anymore. She’s mulling over Hanabusa’s words.

It’s a dark night, and Nio welcomes the pair. She introduces the Chairperson! Her name is..! Continue reading

Sakura Trick: Episode 11

I can keep going, coach!

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Your finger-sliced mistress can keep pressing on, so let’s get them typin’ fingers workin’ on the good stuff.

New character! I will be referring to her as “Sumisumi”, as everyone has taken to referring to her as Sumisumi-kaichou.

…I am now forced to let out a sigh. Ready? Siiiiiigh.

We couldn’t go forever. Yuu was a bit abrasive with her childish stubborness, but now we outright have us a lolita expy.  Sure she’s about to become a senior in high school, but she has the height, the body type, the voice. She’s our lolita.

It’s part of why she speaks so formally. Because that’s just humorous to the Japanese, children acting like adults and vice-versa.  The technicality does not save you from my scorn, Sakura Trick.  We can see it for what it is.  You are like an alchoholic who has picked up their first drink in twelve years. For shame.

Anyway, Sumisumi is lamenting that there is no budget to send off the graduating class.  Kaede offers to introduce her to Haruka, who is still planning her party for Mitsuki.

We get a little introduction to Sumisumi here, her hatred of Kaede’s nickname and how she uses her grandfather’s speech pattern to mask her youthful image.  It’s cute enough, but those lingering thoughts persist…

Don’t get me wrong. I am cool with loli characters. I AM that creepy lesbian. But I also felt, until now, Sakura Trick was above needing to pander like that.

At the same time if you are adding new characters, picking out unused features from the character bin instead of making them carbon copies of existing characters with a new hair color is preferable.  And at the very least we cannot accuse Sumisumi of having an underdeveloped personality despite her only appearing in two episodes. Rather stellar in that regard.

She requests collaborating on the party, and adding the outgoing vice-president, Rina to the festivities.  Sumisumi is motivated to do so due to her gratitude towards the pair for helping her out. It’s a plan!

It also seems Rina may harbor some feelings for Mitsuki, and Head Haruka is out in force.   Continue reading

Noragami: Episode 11

You can have a Hiyori in any color, so long as it’s pink.

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More catch up!

Noragami begins this week with a flashback.  In it we finally establish Rabo, a fellow god of calamity who roomed with Yato for a time, doing jobs together and the like. Just their jobs always involved slaughtering people.  And we see he’s still at it today, massacring people openly in the street.

Coming back from the intro, Hiyori does seem to remember Yukine, but not Yato.  Er…damn how does that work now? She knows Yukine is dead, right? Sooo…what, she just doesn’t know about the Regalia thing?

Yukine and Yato are later stumped. Stumped? Wasn’t the ONE thing on Yato’s mind last episode that he should cut her ties with him? Yet he is completely unable to see it right in front of him?

All the usual anti-amnesia tricks apply. Yato shares stories and pictures in an attempt that Hiyori’s memory arrives.  But she politely humors them, and goes about her business with Yukine.

Time for more drastic measures.

Continue reading

Double Feature: Nobunagun Episodes 10 + 11

They fight, and fight, and fight and fight and fight…

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Okay, my finger hasn’t been burning the last couple days, so I think it’s okay to put some stress on the left hand. Huzzah! Time to play catch-up.

Nobunagun 10 gives us a bit of backstory on the Commander, before diving into the final battle that will come to dominate the remainder of the series.

I have to admit I am flummoxed as to why they felt this was necessary.  Let’s go, Samurai Kyubey.

It’s the third century, and the Commander is a little girl.  Her village, it seems, has been burned to the ground.  It’s in Japan, which is interesting.  She mentions “Himiko-sama”.  Now according to Chinese records, prior to this period the islands lived in a feudal system of over two dozen tribes with “a shaman queen”, whom they named Himiko.  It was eventually replaced by a five-empire system of strong military states.  In effect, the Commander is from the transition period of this feminine empire (from what we can tell, she was an elected ruler) to the Imperial-samurai system we know so well.

Is that really important? Not really. I just wanted to point it out.  It would be nice if it had much bearing on the story but that would be hope. And, on this blog, hope comes here to die.  Still, I’m a little impressed about the detail as traditional Japanese history has tended to expunge the fact they ever willingly submitted to a woman.

No, instead, Samurai Kyubey just kind of whisks her away to help him acquire souls of Humanity’s best and brightest. Most disconcerting is that her first nap in stasis is 300 years long.  Yes, Samurai Kyubey abducts a little girl like a stray and keeps her in stasis until he needs her help retrieving blood samples.  What? Is she sleeping with all of them? Probably.

Continue reading

Galilei Donna: Episode 11

Easy come, easy go.

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Well, my rosy tinted specs watching this show had to fade sometime.  This week featured a full bloom of the Galilei Donna we came to know and love throughout the first half of the series.

What was good: the time travel stuff DID have bearing on the finale. Galileo specifically developed the Tesoro as a fuel source for Hozuki, because of the story she told him about the energy crisis in the future.  This gives us a -somewhat- plausible reason why Galileo has this energy source that no one else in the successive four hundred years could conceive.  If his genius mind theorized it, but the mechanics of producing it were beyond his technology, it’s at least a little useful as to why he went to such great lengths to leave the breadcrumbs.

But the rest..?

We opened with the Ferraris in prison. Not even bothering to show us the arrest or what have you. We just cut straight to the trial. And this trial…this trial…  I have said Galilei Donna forces circumstances, and this trial was full of it.  The audience in the court is against the Ferraris because the script demands so.  Then, they just as abruptly reverse their opinion when its convenient to the script.  Just because we have to see them isolated and what have you.  GUYS, THE PREMISE OF YOUR SHOW IS HOW A CORPORATION IS FRAMING THEM. We have a good feeling of how isolated they are by this point.  This was most obvious in the part where they accuse Hozuki of being a dangerous child for hitting a man with a taser.  To which she responds it was self defense, he was attacking her and she wasn’t thinking philosophically, but of her safety.  But the observers just shake their heads at how violent the kids are.  I’m not even going to go into the suggestion of rape culture here, but who, WHO, looks at a 280lbs man, thinks of the idea of a 13 year old girl getting assaulted by him responding with a taser, and thinks “Oh gosh, how horrible. She’s so violent.”  The rest of this trite was just as bad.

Hazuki tries to mount a defense, but is outplayed at every turn by Admimoon’s lawyer.  Said lawyer inserts lots of useless expositional dialogue, reminding us about Hazuki’s college days and the like. Enter Sylvia Ferrari, whose defense of “I’M THEIR MOTHER I BELIEEEEEEEVE!” is enough to win the court over.

Really? Really. Really? REALLY? Continue reading

Outbreak Comapny: Episode 11

Shit just got real.

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This week started with Matoba praising Shinichi’s good work.

..Excuse me.

Huehuehuehuehuehuehue.

Yes. This week…I have been waiting for it. Mind, it wasn’t exactly the world shattering plan I hoped for.  The simple version is: Japan wants to culturally assimilate Eldant. This…this doesn’t really work well as we’ve observed. What, is this the Manchurian candidate? Look at Africa, look at Asia.  Just because they adopt the culture of another place doesn’t mean they will fall into line.  There are so many more reasons that this plan isn’t exactly nefarious. It is doomed to fail.

Now mind, this isn’t exactly a conquest of a sort. It is more, Japan will exert a sphere of influence on Eldant, much in the same way China is doing with Africa and Southern Asia right now.  By investing, by providing help at the top, and letting the peons of Eldant do the hard work.

While I am loathe to wave off child labor and slave wages that they are almost certainly planning in exchange for the rare metals and oil that are completely untapped in this medieval world, I also want to point out that this is a society that has magic and advanced hygiene technology that keeps their world spotless. The only real evil here is that Japan will have a monopoly on this world, and if this world ever gets to the point of advancing to an industrial era, they can’t use Human technologies to do so because the Japanese government will have almost undoubtedly strip mined the nation bare. Still, as I said, magic. There are elements here that we can’t possibly account in variables for the development of this society.  So, while I can sort of wrap my brain around it, I think that there are simply too many blank points for us to truly say “This is wrong”.  Which isn’t a weakness, mind you. Grey morality is the hallmark of the thinking mans story.  But the show is trying to sell this as absolutely wrong, and the evidence is still somewhat lacking.  It is certainly underhanded, it is certainly sure to repeat the history of colonialism on Earth in the near future. But the long term effects are unknown.

However, the reveal I WILL buy, is that Shinichi was chosen, not because of knowledge, but because no one would miss him if he died. That’s rather blunt and cold. It was a good moment, even if Shinichi’s reaction was a bit melodramatic. Continue reading